Tag Archives: Adirondacks

Seward Range

I saw an unusually long sequence of sunny days ahead and leapt at the chance to snag the four peaks of the Seward Range, a rugged and remote section of the Adirondacks High Peaks. The result?  Blood, sweat, and tears (pick two).

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Emmons, Donaldson, and Seward from Seymour.

The four peaks in this range – Emmons, Donaldson, Seward, and Seymour, from south to north – are each over 4000′ elevation, and thus members of the 46 Adirondack high peaks. (At least they’re an honest 4000′, unlike my recent peaks Couchsachraga, Nye, and Cliff.) When I studied the map last year, I was struck by the remoteness of these peaks – compared the central high peaks region, they are completely trailless, and to reach even the base of these mountains are many miles from the trailhead.  I imagined myself crashing through dense spruce forest with a compass and a hope that I’d not wander off into a trackless drainage. Not so. Continue reading Seward Range

Mount Allen

Mount Allen is another one of those remote, viewless summits that people really only climb because it’s on the 46er list of Adirondack peaks over 4,000′.  It’s an 18-mile round-trip day-hike climb from the trailhead, so I decided to break up the hiking (and the driving) over two days.  I drove over on Friday afternoon and headed into the woods around 4:30pm, planning to follow the marked trail to the point where the herd path begins, then a bit further to where the map shows it crosses a brook and where I hoped I might find a spot to camp.  I queried the outbound hikers for clues about where they may have seen campsites along the way, and got a few tips.  I reached my intended location only to find that a pair of other hikers had had the same idea and were camped in exactly that spot.

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Cliff and Marshall

David at summit of Mount Marshall.

Back to the Adirondacks this weekend, to bag two more 46er peaks: Cliff and Marshall.  This trip was more than a peak-bagging trip – it was an opportunity to re-visit some of my favorite campsites and to enjoy the incredible waterfalls and cascades of the Opalescent River in some excellent conditions. Read on, and check out the photo gallery. Continue reading Cliff and Marshall

Return to Couchsachraga

My goal for 2017 is to complete my Adirondack 46 – that is, to climb the 46 peaks of the Adirondack Mountains that are (or were once thought to be) above 4000′.  I began this quest some forty-plus years ago, and decided to polish off the list.  In March I set off to conquer the remote and entirely uninteresting peak of Couchsachraga, in beautifully perfect winter conditions.  Much to my disappointment, I was forced to turn around just a bit short of my goal.  Breaking trail through several feet of fresh powder, and following the unmarked informal herd path, turned out to be too much for me that day. This weekend I returned to make another attempt, catching a window of beautiful summer weather. Check the photos, and read on.

David on the Couchsachraga summit.
Couchsachraga summit! finally.

Continue reading Return to Couchsachraga

Couchsachraga

I’ve been waiting all winter for an opportunity to climb a particularly remote mountain in the Adirondacks.  Couchsachraga –  “an ancient Algonquin name that means Dismal Wilderness,” seems like such an appropriate name for this uninteresting peak on the list of 46 four-thousand-foot mountains in New York’s Adirondack region.  Indeed, this peak is not even 4,000 feet high: it was included on the original list of 46, but later re-surveyed and discovered to be a tad shy of that mark. It is the shortest of the 46.  I climbed my first 46er peak at age 9 and have been longing to complete the list ever since.  The photo below shows a view of Couch from above – not much to look at, but read on to hear about my adventure trying to reach it.  (And check out the full photo album.)

Couchsachraga, viewed from the ridge descending from Panther.  Long way to go!
Couchsachraga, viewed from the ridge descending from Panther. Long way to go!

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Adirondacks

I’ve been hiking in the Adirondacks for well over forty years – or so I like to think. Actually, I can count on one hand the number of Adirondack peaks I have summited in the past quarter century – all but one of which are small viewpoints outside the classic canon of the ADK 46, the elite group of peaks over four-thousand feet in elevation. (A historical curiosity, three of the peaks on the list of 46 have since been re-surveyed and found to be shy of 4000′ elevation, but remain on the list for ol’ times sake.)  I spent the summers of the 1970s hiking these peaks with my family, and the winters of the 1980s exploring the snowy backcountry with my high-school and college buddies. My last backpacking trip here was in 1990. Recently, I found myself drawn back to these ancient peaks – for they are far older than the Appalachians, and reside deeper in my own past – with an eye toward notching off the final dozen peaks on my own list of 46. I set aside three days on my calendar and struck out at dawn on Friday, with three specific summits in mind, and was rewarded with breathtaking scenery, fond memories of trips long past, a rekindled appreciation for this beautiful wilderness, and lovely photos. More after the break.

Heart Lake near Adirondac Loj.
Heart Lake near Adirondac Loj.

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